I have a hard time believing the ball is only on reserve for $5,000. Turner... what's this ball appraised at? I also don't see how a ball with more signatures on it would be worth less... that may be so, i'm not doubting you, but the whole idea seems very odd. For example, if I had a basketball with Michael Jordan's auto on it it'd be valuable. But if I had the whole dream team from barcelona on there too, it'd be worth a HECK of alot more. Not sure why this isn't true in this case....
All I can tell you is what the experts have told me and also what my research has shown me. I spent two years researching value and determining what a price might be. There's a link below about a single signature "Mathewson" ball and also a single signature "Ruth" ball. I can assure you that the auction house's $$
is also directly linked to the ultimate sales price and they have a marked interest in seeing it sell high.
When I first saw the signatures, I felt the same as you, that it's worth much more the way it is. But, it's simply not. The older memorabelia is quite different from new stuff as well. I spoke personally with the three of the biggest auction houses and all were very adament about the lessor value. It is also quite easy to see that if one does any real research. Again, simply pull up the link below. I actually spoke several times with the auction house (listed below) that sold the very expensive single signature "Mathewson".
Also note this quote from within the link: "A true Christy Mathewson single-signed baseball is among the scarcest of all autographed relics in the industry," H&S wrote in it's description and that proved to be true.
The information from last year's auction shows most all items sold for 4 to 5 times the reserve price. Most items also have an expected sales price listed as well and this does not, mainly because that don't know what the value actually is (it's impossible to get a definitive value from any
appraisor, as it's simply too unique a piece). The ball was insured for $25,000. while in transit. We expect it to sell for much more than the insured value.
One last thing, last year's auction saw no
baseball with as high a reserve as this one. A baseball signed by the 1937 World Series champion N.Y. Yankess containing both Dimaggio's and Gehrig's signature had a reserve of only $500. and sold for about 5X that amount.
Last year they sold over 1700 items in their once a year auction and this year this ball was chosen as one of fifteen items they used to preview this year's auction, which starts in less than one week. Vintage Signed Mathewson Baseball Sells for $161K | Sports Collectors Daily